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Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.
It used to be we worried about the threat of artificial intelligence in movies like Colossus: The Forbin Project or “The Ultimate Computer” episode of Star Trek. Today, though, artificial intelligence is here thanks to Siri and Cortanna and their cousins. We talk to our phones and they answer back and these bots are growing increasingly sophisticated. As a result, what seemed ahead of its time a mere give years ago is looking increasingly prescient.
CBS’ Person of Interest arrived on September 22, 2011 and came with a fine pedigree having been created by Jonathan Nolan with J.J. Abrams on board as Executive Producer. It starred Michael Emerson, hot off Lost, Jim Caviezel, a pre-Empire Taraji P. Henson, and Kevin Chapman. It received near universal acclaim »
- Robert Greenberger
Not to be confused “Daydreaming With Stanley Kubrick,” a current exhibit in London featuring art inspired by the director, “The Stanley Kubrick Exhibition” has been touring the world with stops at Los Angeles, Toronto, Poland, and more. Featuring original props, equipment, costumes, and more items essential to the director’s career, it’s now at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, and Mythbusters‘ Adam Savage has posted his own video tour.
In the fascinating overview, he looks at the candles in Barry Lyndon, Kubrick’s own lenses, concept art from A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (which Savage worked on), the monkey costumes from 2001: A Space Odyssey, a model for Dr. Strangelove set, his preparation for his unmade epic Napoleon, which Cary Fukunaga is attached to direct, and much more.
- Jordan Raup
Now that he’s entered the post-“Mythbusters” phase of his career, Adam Savage has more time to pursue passion projects. That includes a third pilgrimage to the traveling Stanley Kubrick Exhibition, currently in residence at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in Savage’s hometown of San Francisco, which he’s documented for his YouTube endeavor Tested.
The visit marks his third time to the exhibit — he first saw it at Lacma in Los Angeles, then again in Toronto — and Savage proves an expectedly knowledgeable unofficial tour guide as he roams its halls. He discusses the camera made specifically for “Barry Lyndon” (which won an Oscar for its cinematography, which relied heavily on candles and used no artificial light for its interior scenes), his experiences working on “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” during his time »
- Michael Nordine
This week, The Bfg joined this year’s list of ‘illustrious’ flops, at least in the Us where it tanked hard as it released off the back of Indepedence Day: Resurgence and the much more successful Finding Dory. That puts it in the same house as The Huntsman’s Winter War, Gods of Egypt & Zoolander 2. A Steven Spielberg movie. Based on a legendary children’s book by Roald Dahl. This can’t be right, surely? Well for whatever reason, nobody wanted to smell what The Bfg was cooking, and almost immediately commentators and sites decried this box office failure as the metaphorical ‘death of Spielberg’, suggesting the master of modern cinema has lost his magic touch with the takings and, moreover, has lost that special ingredient which made him arguably the »
- Tony Black
Steven Spielberg has a thing for movies about aliens. Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. and War of the Worlds are the biggest examples, but they can also be found in some of his less popular movies like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Even 1941 is a satire of the real evening an unidentified flying object over Los Angeles lead to mass military confusion. Heck, even the final evolution of robots in A.I. look like aliens. So, yeah, extraterrestrials are kind of Spielberg's thing, and we are totally okay with that because he does incredible things with the material. And soon we'll be able to add another project to this already impressive list. Spielberg's company, Amblin Partners, has just bought The Fall written by relative newcomer...
- Peter Hall
The director is at the 33rd Jerusalem Film Festival to accompany a screening of Pulp Fiction.
Iconic Us film-maker Quentin Tarantino is one of a number of high-profile international guests attending this year’s Jerusalem Film Festival (July 7-17). Tarantino is in town to accompany a screening of his 1994 feature, the Palme d’Or and Oscar-winning neo-noir black comedy Pulp Fiction. The film will be projected from a restored 35mm print from Tarantino’s personal archive.
The sold-out screening will take place at the Cinematheque tomorrow at 10pm. The director will participate in a live on-stage conversation following the film. Tarantino, who last visited Israel in 2009 to promote his Second World War thriller Inglourious Basterds, will also be presented with a lifetime achievement award at the festival’s opening ceremony tonight.
Once upon a time Steven Spielberg was the fabulist of our time. Looking at Close Encounters of the Third Kind or E.T or even Jurassic Park and A.I., you could see a sense of wonder and playfulness in his filmmaking, a childlike enthusiasm that never felt pandering or out of place. While the last few years have seen Spielberg in production mode for megafranchises (i.e. Transformers) and whittling away at history (Lincoln, Bridge of Spies) his true flights of fancy have been less overt. Save for an underappreciated The Adventures of Tintin, we've been seeing a lot more of a serious side of the director. It's all the more fitting, then, that The Bfg finds Spielberg returning to his overtly childish ways, finding a particularly genuine...
[Read the whole post on screenanarchy.com...]
Two costly new releases, “The Legend of Tarzan” (Warner Bros.) and “The Bgf” (Buena Vista), which reportedly cost over $300 million combined, look unlikely to dislodge Pixar/Disney’s high-flying “Finding Dory” from its third weekend in first place. And it is possible that a $10 million new entry, “The Purge: Election Year” (Universal), could edge out both as the best of the newbies.
But with “Dory” coming off a $73 million weekend, it should have little trouble topping $35 million for the three day total and over $40 million for the four. That should best all the first week entries, though their order remains a question mark.
Independence Day is one of three major holidays (Christmas and New Years Day along with it) that has no fixed weekday. That makes comparisons with other years more tricky. Last year July 4 fell on a Saturday (Friday was also a day off), with the result that the »
- Tom Brueggemann
You wouldn't know it by looking at the man's filmography, but Stanley Kubrick always did have a thing for fairy tales. This obsession seemed to have particularly shown itself in the back half of his life, when Kubrick was trying to persuade Steven Spielberg to direct A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. And, as we've now learned, Kubrick had another project of a very similar ilk in the works: he was developing a remake of Pinocchio. The world learned of this fact through an interview between The Guardian and Emilio D'Alessandro – the man who served as Stanley Kubrick's personal assistant for over three decades. Stressing that this variant of Pinocchio was completely independent of his A.I.: Artificial Intelligence variant of the story, D'Alessandro filled the world in on what could have been with the following information: Stanley was interested in making Pinocchio. He sent »
Now, a new interview by The Guardian this week with long time Kubrick assistant Emilio D'Alessandro has revealed that the director wanted to make a movie about "Pinocchio" immediately after 'Eyes' and had begun planning it:
"Stanley was interested in making Pinocchio. He sent me to buy Italian books about [him]. He wanted to make it in his own way because so many Pinocchios have been made. He wanted to do something really big … He said: 'It would very nice if I could make children laugh and feel happy by making this Pinocchio.'
The project is Not to be confused with the similarly themed "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" which Kubrick developed and which ultimately became a Steven Spielberg film. Kubrick's work stretched across many genres, »
- Garth Franklin
Once upon a time Steven Spielberg was the fabulist of our time. Looking at Close Encounters or E.T. or even Jurassic Park and A.I., you could see a sense of wonder and playfulness in his filmmaking, a childlike enthusiasm that never felt pandering or out of place. While the last few years have seen Spielberg in production mode for megafranchises (i.e. Transformers) and whittling away at history (Lincoln, Bridge of Spies) his true flights of fancy have been less overt. Save for an underappreciated The Adventures of Tintin, we've been seeing a lot more of a serious side of the director. It's all the more fitting, then, that The Bfg finds Spielberg returning to his overtly childish ways, finding a particularly genuine and effortless way to...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
There are a number of projects in various stages of development that Stanley Kubrick left behind when he passed away prior to the release of Eyes Wide Shut. While some will never see the light of day under different hands, a few have re-emerged. Steven Spielberg, who brought A.I. to life from the director’s script, previously announced he’ll be executive-producing Napoleon, one of Kubrick’s long-gestating projects, which he heavily researched in the 1960’s. While it was rumored that Baz Lurhmann might get in the director’s chair for it, a perhaps more-fitting helmer is now in talks to direct the ambitious project.
Following reports out of a Kubrick symposium at De Montfort University Leicester, HBO has now confirmed to THR that Cary Fukunaga is indeed in talks to direct the six-hour miniseries. Chronicling the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s mission to conquer Europe in the 19th century, »
- Jordan Raup
Steven Spielberg has gotten some exceptional performances out of child actors throughout his career. Rarely does a child’s performance in a Spielberg film ring false. Empire of the Sun, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, Jurassic Park, and The Temple of Doom star kids giving naturally charismatic and completely present performances. The director’s goal […]
- Jack Giroux
Second Chance, the Fox channel’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein had, it would be fair to say, a somewhat turbulent production. With the number of episodes reduced from thirteen to eleven before the show even premiered and two late-in-the-day changes from original title The Frankenstein Code, it seemed as if Fox had early reservations about the direction and potential of the project. And the general reaction to Second Chance’s initial few episodes seemingly justified the scepticism. After the first two outings brought in poor numbers, the series was unceremoniously shunted to the infamous ‘Friday Night Death Slot’. The critics weren’t much kinder either, with the overarching feeling being the show lacked in originality, wasn’t particularly exciting and should have been better thought out both in concept and execution.
But despite under-par reviews and unimpressive ratings, there are a number of elements contained in Second Chance that shine through; a few ideas that really work well, engage viewers (the few there are) and display a promise suggesting that with a few tweaks and alterations, this monster could really have come to life. A second season has been ruled out by Fox, and here's why that's a shame.
As Second Chance begins, Jimmy Pritchard is a seventy-five year old man, living in disgrace after losing his job as Sheriff due to being found guilty of malpractice, or as he’d put it, “getting the job done”. Pensioner Jimmy has a penchant for booze and hookers and suffers a strained relationship with his straight-laced FBI agent son, Duval, who resents him due to his prioritisation of work over family and his maverick way of keeping law and order. When Jimmy finds intruders in his son’s home, he’s callously murdered, with the death being framed as suicide. Luckily, the old-timer has a rare genetic precursor and his body is recovered by the reclusive, billionaire genius Otto Goodwin to be the subject of his quest to reanimate a human being into an ‘ideal version’ of their younger self, complete with superhuman capabilities.
That’s more or less where the Frankenstein influence ends and it’s easy to see why the original ‘The Frankenstein Code’ moniker didn’t stick, as Second Chance very quickly reveals itself to be, essentially, a police procedural drama. Once the dust settles on Pritchard’s resurrection, the bulk of the series chronicles the now thirty-five year old solving crimes with his son as they struggle to repair their relationship along the way. The other primary source of plot concerns Otto and his twin Mary, the duo responsible for bringing Jimmy back from the dead. As Mary struggles with terminal cancer, the pair strives to understand the morality behind their breakthrough and begin to develop their own relationships with the ex-Sheriff, both working and personal.
Even its most staunch supporters would struggle to deny that Second Chance has several fundamental flaws, perhaps the most significant of which being the show’s ‘short term’ planning approach. The first episode, for example, is enjoyable enough with intriguing mysteries to keep its audience interested until the end and a magnetising protagonist, however all of the episode’s questions and plot points are neatly tied up and resolved by the end credits, leaving absolutely nothing to hook viewers into returning next week. This approach is highly frustrating, particularly as the ‘who were the intruders that murdered Jimmy?’ mystery could have easily been a season-long arc that motivated the lead character throughout the story, rather than being a cut and dry case contained to episode one.
This trend continues throughout the series’ run with Second Chance adopting a ‘crime of the week’ format and the few long-term story arcs that are introduced are largely restricted to family disputes and domestic tension. There is a welcome exception to this rule however, with the final trio of episodes coming together to deliver a quite stunning finale brimming with suspense and action and it just goes to show that when multi-episode narratives are utilised, Second Chance could really take off.
Other problems with the show include the formulaic and predictable nature of many stories, with Jimmy usually saving the day at the last second despite his son asking him to stop interfering in his cases. The writing itself doesn’t fare much better, with the show’s initial batch of scripts offering very little wit or emotive clout, often feeling very ‘by the numbers’ and without wanting to name names, some of the acting is not what you’d expect from a mainstream production.
As we said however, there are redeeming features present, not least of which is the fantastically grounded performance by lead actor Rob Kazinsky. Aside from memorable turns in Pacific Rim and True Blood, British viewers may best remember Rob for his time in Eastenders playing Sean Slater but the Sussex-born actor has been less prominent in the last two years. As such, it’s good to see the promising talent take on a meaty role such as this, and Kazinsky delivers a very affecting performance as Jimmy Pritchard. Never losing sight of the fact his character is actually a pensioner, the acting is layered with maturity and wisdom and his American accent is flawless. Part detective action-hero, part failed family-man and part seriously confused about not being dead, Kazinsky is an ideal leading man and it’s no exaggeration to say that there are times when his charisma carries the show.
There’s also an argument to be made that whilst Second Chance’s melding together of Frankenstein, cop show and family woes doesn’t quite work together as a cohesive narrative, the series does succeed when considered primarily as a detective-based crime drama with a slight, undead, twist. The featured cases may not have the delicate intricacy of Sherlock or inspire amateur sofa-sleuthing as feverishly as the CSI franchise but each episode’s felony hooks viewers in, keeping bums on seats until the bad guys are behind bars and Pritchard is safely back in his regeneration tank.
The developing relationship between the ex-corpse and his son Duval manages to bring at least a modicum of freshness to the table, and the way Second Chance handles Duval coming to terms with the revival of his father is more or less spot-on. If Pritchard’s son had accepted the news too easily the show would’ve looked foolish and naive, but drag the storyline on for too long and Duval’s reluctance to believe something the audience already knows to be true would have become infuriating. It’s a delicate balance but Second Chance doesn’t over or under-sell the unique scenario the characters find themselves in and ensures the exchanges feel believable without overcooking the conflict.
Unfortunately, however, this doesn’t fix the plot-hole of why Duval doesn’t recognise his 35 year-old father. Otto does offer a flimsy 'it’s the best version of him' explanation, hinting that Jimmy would have looked different when he was originally in his thirties but it’s a feeble attempt to paper over the fact that most sons would recognise their dad as a younger adult.
As alluded to previously, the series’ rigid formula and predictability does become an issue but any potential drop in interest is offset by scripts that improve dramatically as the show progresses, after a shaky few initial offerings. Gwendolyn M. Parker’s work on fourth outing Admissions, for instance, showcases Jimmy and Duval at their horn-locking best and the crime at the centre of the story is genuinely surprising in places. There’s even a hilarious scene involving Jimmy Pritchard’s family and an Ouija board. Despite being a season highlight however, Admissions does suffer from the same issues Second Chance is guilty of as a whole, namely the inductive leaps our detective protagonists sometimes resort to in order to wrap up their case inside the forty minutes running time. The occasionally too obvious and definitely too frequent plot devices provided by the Lookinglass company also irk as the series goes on.
Thankfully Lookinglass don’t just provide a variety of ‘get out of jail’ cards for the show’s writers, they’re also responsible from bringing the magnificent Arthur to life. Arthur is a seemingly omnipotent A.I. created by Otto Goodwin with a charmingly loveable personality, similar to A Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’s Marvin but without the physical form and crippling depression. He also is a perfect example of Second Chance’s excellent design work, especially when it comes to the more futuristic technology on display. It really helps sell the show’s more fantastical concepts and builds a believable setting.
And it isn’t only the cinematography that triumphs, the direction and music also impress. The work behind the camera is always solid, noticeably altering to suit Second Chance’s two distinct areas of drama. The crime segments are nice and choppy, lingering on important visual clues for added impact but deliberately obscuring other elements to ramp up the tension, however the Lookinglass scenes take a more serene and streamlined approach. The series’ soundtrack also offers moments of inspiration with John Paesano’s subtle score often punctuated by modern pop tracks such as Gram Rabbit’s piano-led They’re Watching which appears over scenes of a brutal axe murder. The juxtaposition is funnier than it should be.
Realistically, if you’re the type of person to only watch a select few television shows a year, Second Chance isn’t going to be (and probably shouldn’t be) one of them. But for those who gobble up series like a surprise tub of Ben and Jerry’s you forgot was in the freezer, this spin on the Frankenstein story is a decent police procedural with a science fiction twist that isn’t quite as hopeless as the reviews and ratings would have you believe. Indeed, it could be said that Second Chance is a victim of the golden age of television we’re currently experiencing. With fantastic shows appearing continuously on mainstream and cable channels as well as streaming sites and on-demand services, projects like Second Chance receive a negative reception not because they are lacking in quality but because they don’t hold up to the abundance of excellent programming currently available at the touch of a button. Second Chance may not be a great show, but it’s certainly a good one and its lone season deserves to find the viewership that is undoubtedly out there for it somewhere.
See related How Moffat’s Jekyll anticipated Doctor Who & Sherlock The Frankenstein Chronicles episode 1 review: A World Without God 25 upcoming Us TV shows: sci-fi, fantasy, horror, thrillers 50 upcoming comic book TV shows, and when to expect them TV Feature Craig Elvy Second Chance 15 Jun 2016 - 06:00 Fox Robert Kazinsky Craig Elvy »
Reel-Important People is a monthly column that highlights those individuals in or related to the movies that have left us in recent weeks. Below you'll find names big and small and from all areas of the industry, though each was significant to the movies in his or her own way. Gato Barbieri (1932-2016) - Composer and saxophonist. His music scores include those for Last Tango in Paris (hear it below) and Seven Servants. He died on April 2. (THR)\\ Erik Bauersfeld (1922-2016) - Actor. He voiced the character Admiral Ackbar in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Return of the Jedi (see below), for which he also voiced Bib Fortuna. His other movie credits include Crimson Peak and A.I. Artificial Intelligence. He died...
- Christopher Campbell
“I want to be in the Army.” That statement prompted a frantic phone call from my ex-wife, and an entire series of conversations. It also inspired a very particular screening of a very particular film, one in a series of recent screenings that have spoken to Toshi’s developing interests in both history and Hollywood. While movies are very important to Toshi, they are less important than Allen, and I suspect there will come a time where I lose Allen to other interests. That’s fine with me. Whatever he’s interested in and excited by, I’ll encourage him. Right now, his interests are more in games and puzzles and building things. Minecraft is pretty much the perfect intersection of all of Allen’s energies. As a result, when I am picking things that we’re all going to watch together, I find myself going mainstream and populist and easy. »
- Drew McWeeny
Tim Rose physically played the character in both "Return of the Jedi" and the recent "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," but Bauersfeld provided the voice in both movies along with the voice of the character Bib Fortuna in "Return of the Jedi".
Source: THR »
- Garth Franklin
Erik Bauersfeld, the actor who provided the voice to the beloved Star Wars character Admiral Ackbar in a pair of films, died Sunday at his Berkeley, California home. He was 93. Bauersfeld's manager confirmed the actor's death to The Hollywood Reporter.
Although best remembered for voicing Ackbar – his exclamation "It's a trap!" in Return of the Jedi has been reborn as a popular meme – Bauersfeld also voiced the character of Bib Fortuna in Jedi. Bauersfeld later lent his vocal talents to Steven Spielberg's A.I.: Artificial Intelligence as well as Guillermo Del Toro's Crimson Peak. »
The Star Wars franchise lost a beloved figure over the weekend, with actor Erik Bauersfeld, who voiced Admiral Ackbar, passing away at the age of 93. The Hollywood Reporter confirmed through Derek Maki, Erik Bauersfeld's manager, that the actor died Sunday morning at his home in Berkeley, California. While he was also an accomplished radio dramatist, he will be most remembered for voicing the Mon Calimari Rebel commander Admiral Ackbar, and his iconic line "It's a trap!"
Tim Rose Physically played Admiral Ackbar in both Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi and the current blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which has taken in over $2 billion at the box office. But the character's voice was provided by Erik Bauersfeld in both movies. He also voiced Bib Fortuna, one of Jabba the Hut's employees in Return of the Jedi, while voicing Admiral Ackbar in the 1993 flight simulator video game Star Wars: X-Wing. »
The voice behind Star Wars' Admiral Ackbar has died at 93. Eric Bauersfeld, who voiced the Rebellion leader in Return of the Jedi, and recently in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, died Sunday morning of natural causes at his home in Berkeley, California, his manager, Derek Maki, confirmed to People. Admiral Ackbar has also gained popularity as a internet meme for the memorable line, "It's a trap!," delivered by Bauersfeld in Return of the Jedi. Bauersfeld voiced Ackbar in addition to Jabba the Hutt's staffer Bib Fortuna in 1983's Return of the Jedi. He returned to the series to voice »
- Michael Miller, @write_miller
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